Fury as Tory says £20 Universal Credit ‘handout’ must end as some people ‘don’t need it’

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A Tory MP has been slammed for saying Universal Credit should be slashed by £20 a week because some people “don’t need it”.

Andrew Rosindell – who bought a £289 TV for his constituency office on expenses last year – admitted some of Britain’s 6million claimants “quite like” getting the Covid uplift since April 2020.

But despite people having to be on low incomes, sick, disabled or jobless to claim UC, he said it should not be a “handout” for all claimants.

The MP told BBC Politics Live: “I’m very sceptical of blanket benefits like this, I think it should be targeted at people in genuine need.”

Labour ’s Shadow Work and Pensions Minister Karen Buck slammed the callous MP, saying: “£20 may not be much to a Conservative MP.

“But for millions of people on low incomes £20 a week is the difference between having food in the fridge at the end of the week or not."

Do you agree with the Universal Credit cut? Join the debate in the comments section below.

He was also confronted on the BBC show by Labour MP Carolyn Harris, who said: “We’re taking £20 a week away from the people who can least afford to lose it.

“Nobody who’s on Universal Credit would be not in need of more money – what may be a cup of coffee and a nice slice of cake for some people, £20, is actually food for a week for other people.”

He spoke as it emerged DWP benefit chiefs will start writing to millions of families within weeks confirming their Universal Credit is being cut by £20 a week.

Six million claimants look set to get the messages as the Tories bin an £85-a-month Covid uplift at the end of September.

The news comes despite desperate pleas, including from dozens of Tory MPs – and hours after state pensions were predicted to rise by 8% next April.

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Welfare claimants will start being told through online statements and journals, as well as phone calls and letters that the 18-month-long Covid uplift is coming to an end.

Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey today refused to say if she had lobbied the Treasury to cancel the £20-a-week cut – which a think tank has warned will plunge 400,000 children into relative poverty.

Mr Rosindell told the BBC show: “I think this is a balance, it has to be judged very carefully, I think there are people that quite like getting the extra £20, but maybe they don’t need it.

“Because people are all different, different circumstances, so you can’t box everyone into the same category.

DWP chief Therese Coffey today confirmed millions of claimants will start being written to about the cut

“The government has an overall responsibility to deal with the national finances as well and that’s what they must now do.”

Angry Twitter users branded Mr Rosindell's comments "out of touch and quite pathetic".

But he said “to have this blanket benefit uplifted permanently I don’t think is sustainable”, adding: “If someone is in desperate need and a family really need that support there should be a safety net, there should be flexibility in the system.

“What I’m against is government giving handouts – well, whatever you want to call it, to give benefits permanently to people without proper assessment as to whether they need that.”

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